Can landlords evict tenants who file Chapter 7?

On Behalf of | Mar 31, 2022 | Bankruptcy, Chapter 7 |

Bankruptcy is a legal way for consumers in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to remove some unsecured debts. However, landlords may wonder if they can evict a tenant who files for bankruptcy.

When Chapter 7 bankruptcy stops an eviction

Before the new bankruptcy laws in 2005, a landlord could not evict a tenant who filed Chapter 7, which is a liquidation process. Chapter 7 adds the automatic stay, which prevents creditors from taking further collection actions such as wage garnishments, against the consumer. It only halts actions temporarily, usually until the end of the case, but it gives renters time to catch up on rent.

To stop an eviction, some states allow the renter 30 days to remedy the default and pay the court the rent due. They are required to file a certificate, or sworn statement, with the court and give the landlord a copy. They must file a second certificate stating that they paid the past-due rent, and they must make a deposit on future rent payment.

When Chapter 7 bankruptcy doesn’t stop eviction

If the landlord has already filed a judgment, the automatic stay won’t help the tenant except for past-due rent. If the tenant defaults a second time on the rent after a remedy, the landlord can start a new eviction and lift the stay.

The landlord can lift the automatic stay and remove a tenant for substance abuse or endangering property, even if rent is current. The landlord must file a certificate that the claims happened in the past 30 days, and they have 15 days to evict. The tenant has 15 days to file an objection based on the claims, and the court must hold a hearing within 10 days.

Chapter 7 bankruptcy only allows tenants to catch up rent and doesn’t absolve them of current rent. It’s important to note that tenants may sue landlords who don’t follow the law on evictions.